Teaching Sassafras and her Teeny Tiny Tail

A Note to Readers

I’m delighted to welcome Candice Marley Conner to the blog to talk about how teachers can use her brand new book, Sassafras and her Teeny Tiny Tail with students. This book is Dyslexic inclusive; it is printed in a font that everyone can read, including people with dyslexia. Yay! Read on to learn more.

Happy Reading,


Teaching Sassafras and her Teeny Tiny Tail


Tell us about your book.

Sassafras and her Teeny Tiny Tail is about a squirrel who has a tail as short and bristly as a chewed-up pine cone. Because of this, she’s always tumbling off tree branches since she doesn’t have a long tail to act as a counterbalance, and she feels that no one understands her since she doesn’t have that long tail for signaling. But when danger snaps and slobbers, she discovers that what makes her different might just save the day.


What do you hope your young readers will take away from your book?

I hope young readers take away the notion that our differences make us awesome! We each have something we’re good at, and that’s what we should focus on. The book is printed in dyslexie font to make it more accessible.


How might a teacher or librarian use your book in the classroom?

Curriculum hooks include science: animal observation, characteristics, habitat, counseling: discovering your positive attributes, as well as language arts:

Have your students look over the cover and read the title before opening the book. Ask them the following questions:

  • What do you think this book is about?
  • Who do you think is the main character?
  • What do you think you might learn from this book?
  • What do you already know about squirrels?

Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g. who, what, where, when, why, how).

Read SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL to your students. Then identify the five W’s in the story.

Who: Sassafras the squirrel

What: comes up with many, varied, and unusual ways to make her tail look longer

Where: a tree

When: day time

Why: Other squirrels made fun of her stubby tail and clumsiness in climbing trees

Students can extend the story by drawing, dictating, and/or writing all the ways Sassafras attempts to make her tail look longer. What are many, varied, and unusual ways she can do this?

Can you share an exercise or activity that teachers can do with students after they’ve read your book?

Help Sassafras Grow Her Tail (Sassy profile on website with found/provided objects to make her tail) This could include arts and craft supplies like pom-poms, chenille stems, etc and/or a Nature Scavenger Hunt where students could observe the schoolyard and playground trees/ birds/squirrels/insects and collect objects Sassafras could use to make her tail look longer, such as fallen leaves or twigs depending on the school grounds. Check out the Downloadable Sassafras Coloring and Activity Sheets | candice marley conner

Have students observe other animal’s characteristics to draw a correlation between function and feature, ie, rabbits’ big ears help them hear better, etc

What books pair well with your book?

Comparison titles include Cannon’s Stellaluna, Drachman’s Leo the Lightning Bug, and Andreae’s Giraffes Can’t Dance.


About the author

Candice Marley Conner is the kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookstore (but not haunted how you’re thinking), an officer for her local writers’ guild, and a Local Liaison for SCBWI. Her poems and short stories are in Highlights Hello, Smarty Pants Magazine for Kids, Babybug Magazine, and more. Her debut picture book, SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL (Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing) released June 8, 2021, and her YA Southern mystery, THE EXISTENCE OF BEA PEARL (Owl Hollow Press) debuted June 15, 2021. She lives in Alabama with her husband, two children, two cats, and one furry potato. Visit her online at: candicemarleyconner.com or on social media at Twitter (@candice_marleyc), Instagram (@Candice_marleyconner) or Facebook( http://www.facebook.com/cmarleyconnerauthor)



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